M1010 fire rig to camper conversion

chevymike

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yeah, some are, some are not reversible. Fingers crossed it works. I know on my '48 Chevy, moving less then 10mph, it forces enough air that is would drop my radiator temps, with the mechanical fan, even at low RPM. I converted to an electric so that is not a problem anymore. :)
 

cruzer747

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So I made it back all in one piece... almost 1000 more miles on the odo bringing the vehicle just over 15k. So first thing to address is that having the fan spinning proper and not fighting the airflow things are MAYBE noticeably better by a tad but the problem of climbing grades for the 700r4 and keeping heat below the desired threshold still remains. There are two things I can do now that can help solve this.... put in an additional large active cooler below the vehicle somewhere and/or make better power to be able to climb with a locked tc. As things are many times when the grade is maybe %15 or so (I need to actually measure where she starts struggling) but at a certain point she can't muster the power to pull up a hill in 2nd gear locked up so it is either 2nd gear with slippage(heat), or give it shots of 1st gear and then back to a slowly bogging down 2nd... or dont go up the hill. Pretty sure the tc will not lock up in first. At least I can not feel it when I tried. In a perfect world I would not need to rely so heavily on the manual lockup so I will be getting a cooler that will hopefully be big enough to let er slip in second all I want. Tranny is still working flawlessly. Mileage was about 12.5 11.5 (just did the math) the entire trip with varied driving.

I also had a weird thing happen that I thought I would mention here. After filling up (topping off as much as possible) and driving for 30 minutes or so with the nose up and then stopping for a 10 minute break with the nose still upwards, I lost prime. No weeping filter, never before and never after have I seen this, my theory is that the tank was not venting and under vacuum and the angle (nose up) never changing came into play? Cranked for 3 or 4 good long tries. It was not like there was a stumble at all, I considered the FSS for a moment but decided to check with a quick shot of silicone spray and she fired and ran like nothing ever happened without any sort of roughness at all. Any ideas?

I scrambled around to some pretty cool spots, even tried the rubicon and made it almost 2.5 miles until the road was beyond what I was willing to subject it to as the 33" tires only get you so high off of some of them rocks!

Also got a pair of brushless fans for the cab and epoxied some magnets on em, they were nice as the temps were often above 80 and touched the low hundreds! Pics are pre epoxy. Moved the bbq light so that you can actually see what you are cooking. (pics are from before I finished the wiring)
IMG_20200731_162647.jpgIMG_20200731_162634.jpgIMG_20200731_162553.jpgIMG_20200729_142959.jpgIMG_20200729_142927.jpg

When I get more time to work on it I will be focused on squeezing more power out of the motor before adding much additional weight. I did make a nice step that probably weighs #30 os so, just in time as the plastic step stool imploded recently.
IMG_20200727_174517.jpgIMG_20200727_174503.jpg

So next on the list is
more engine power (I have had to switch to 4L just to start off from an incline a few points, I should also recheck my vehicle weight at this point)
camera system
hot water/heat exchanger
cargo basket
cell booster (or at some point I will get a dedicated device all set up with detailed forest route maps... thought I had enough but we winged it a bit as far as where we were headed) I now have a very good idea of how to have a cell/tablet holder.... that one will get done before the next long trip for sure as my navigator was less than enthusiastic and I would be lying if I said we never took a wrong turn out there on all of the dirt roads.



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chevymike

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Glad you got out and no serious problems. Looks like fun!

I was reading the instructions for the B&M Hi-Tek cooler (plate style with fan) and it specifically says you must have air being pulled through the cooler. You have it mounted so the fan is forward of the cooler, in front of the radiator. In this configuration, you would need to have the fan "pulling" air through it but that is backwards to when you are driving, since air would be forced into the engine compartment and stopping the cooler fan from pulling. That cooler would need to be flipped 180* so it has the fan in front of the radiator.

What I would do, to try to control trans temps would be, add the largest plate style cooler in front of the radiator AND mount your current cooler/fan combo up under between the frame rails behind the bumper. I would face the fan down and make sure there is a 2" gap above the cooler. Then I would plumb the trans output to the cooler/fan combo, then up through the plate cooler in front of the radiator and then back to the trans.

In this config the hot fluid would go through the cooler/fan combo, allowing the fan to pull heat out of the fluid. Then it would go through the plate cooler, to remove more heat BUT not adding much additional heat into the radiator since the fluid would already have been "pre-cooled". Then it goes back to the trans.

Yeah, lack of power is a huge problem. I am seeing this with my rig and I haven't even got up to our local mountains. We have some short but steep grades in town and it really shows the lack of power. The Gear Vendor helps a little as I can split gears and having 2.5 (between 2nd and 3rd) has been useful where one is too much and the other too little. I keep thinking "do I want to continue down this 6.2 path or swap over to a LS 6.0 or 8.1 EFI big block". If staying with the 6.2, turbo is likely going to be a requirement. Is the juice worth the squeeze?
 

cruzer747

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Glad you got out and no serious problems. Looks like fun!

I was reading the instructions for the B&M Hi-Tek cooler (plate style with fan) and it specifically says you must have air being pulled through the cooler. You have it mounted so the fan is forward of the cooler, in front of the radiator. In this configuration, you would need to have the fan "pulling" air through it but that is backwards to when you are driving, since air would be forced into the engine compartment and stopping the cooler fan from pulling. That cooler would need to be flipped 180* so it has the fan in front of the radiator.

What I would do, to try to control trans temps would be, add the largest plate style cooler in front of the radiator AND mount your current cooler/fan combo up under between the frame rails behind the bumper. I would face the fan down and make sure there is a 2" gap above the cooler. Then I would plumb the trans output to the cooler/fan combo, then up through the plate cooler in front of the radiator and then back to the trans.

In this config the hot fluid would go through the cooler/fan combo, allowing the fan to pull heat out of the fluid. Then it would go through the plate cooler, to remove more heat BUT not adding much additional heat into the radiator since the fluid would already have been "pre-cooled". Then it goes back to the trans.

Yeah, lack of power is a huge problem. I am seeing this with my rig and I haven't even got up to our local mountains. We have some short but steep grades in town and it really shows the lack of power. The Gear Vendor helps a little as I can split gears and having 2.5 (between 2nd and 3rd) has been useful where one is too much and the other too little. I keep thinking "do I want to continue down this 6.2 path or swap over to a LS 6.0 or 8.1 EFI big block". If staying with the 6.2, turbo is likely going to be a requirement. Is the juice worth the squeeze?
It was fun, just wish I could get out for longer but damn them responsibilities and bills.... anywho, I think that putting it back to a pull fan configuration might net potentially %10 better cooling vs flipping the blade and polarity to make it a push fan as I have done, I am confident that the need for additional cooling would still remain. I like your idea and think that is just what I am going to do. I will need to take some measurements but was looking at the hayden 1299 for going in front of the rad where the current one is now and then relocating the existing underneath and reverting back to a pull configuration allowing the cooler to be up higher with the fan below. Having a cooler opposed to passive airflow with fan off pre radiator should not impose too much problem for elongated trans warmup.

I think my power gameplan is to try and ration additional weight (no second fuel tank) and then do some minor mods for air and fuel.... I have some parts from a 6.5 handy so I can throw on the 3" exhaust, maybe get the intake plumbed outside of the engine area and get an egt gauge and turn up the fuel a touch swap in the new style fuel filter... . Beyond that I will probably just grit my teeth on the slow climbs and enjoy the scenery. Long term I am not sure but I think I will eventually make the time to pop test the injectors and also do a compression test on the motor just to make sure I am not missing anything.
 

cruzer747

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Don't go with any tube type coolers. They do not cool nearly well enough at a given size compared to a plate style. Highly recommend B&M coolers!!!


This would be a great size to put in.

I hate to be contrarian but the btu rating on the 1299 is (hayden provides a range, not a single number which to me would imply the B&M cooler is using the top range # for BTUs) but anyways, at the low end of the hayden btu rating it is still %20 better than the B&M (36,500 vs 29,299 btu) and if you wanted to compare top btus then it would be (61,000 vs the 29,200 btu).

I am no expert but at a certain point, size will win in a race to dissipate heat. The B&M 13x11.5x1.75 vs the tube 22x24x1.5, the 1284 is 17x24x1.5.

All of this said after some measuring it looks like the hayden 1284 would be the one that fits vs the 1299. Comperable ratings (37,500-59,000 btu).

edit- also at he face this B&M is 150sq" and the hayden 1284 is 408 sq". That is almost 3x the surface area so I would not be surprised to see a larger less effecient cooler outperform the smaller one at a cost of space. Are there any other downsides to the tube cooler?

Am I trusting the numbers too much? I agree that if the size were equal the plate would outperform a tube cooler.
 
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cruzer747

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I read up a little more on haydens coolers and there are some other interesting things I thought I would add.... they have a plate cooler that is about the same size as the b&m and they rated it between 10,000-23,500 btus compared to the 29,200 rating the b&m gives There are more plates on the b&m so that may explain it. I scrolled a bit further down the hayden catalog and found this interesting unit the 801 which is a plate cooler 4.5x30, I will go measure and see if I can stuff it in front of the radiator
 

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chevymike

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I was more using the example of a plate style versus tube style cooler. Size for size, plate style has historically always been better and why almost all auto manufacturers have move to them. This was a huge thing back in my Baja Bug days. Now if you compare a tube style that is 3x bigger than the plate one, then I would hope the large cooler would cool more. I also wouldn't hold a ton of weight to btu numbers as they tend to be misleading and in a perfect lab environment.
 

cruzer747

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Hello all, just a brief update. About a month ago I wrote a lengthy post on my phone while evacuated from some of the local wildfires. (I accidentaly deleted it and was too tired to rewrite it on my cell) The M1010 was my shelter on and off for a good month. Thankyou to all that gave advice and encouragement to get it where it is. I was able to get enough things from my place had we been unfortunate like so many around here if the fire reached my place I would have been at peace with it. My work truck and my m1010 were safe and I had enough time to grab some irreplaceables. I finally got my house computer hooked back up and will hopefully be settled in enough to get the rig ready for its next 10 day trip coming up in a few weeks! In the time away from home I was able to swap my sickly 6.5T out with one I overhauled recently and the operation was a success! (about 750 miles so far and no codes!) If the fire got very bad it was going to endanger where I had my rebuilt motor and I was faced with haul all of my possessions in my work truck as well as my new 6.5 all stacked in the bed pulled by an overheating motor. Anyhow I am pulling away from the setback and will be able to refocus some spare time towards the camper rig soon. Just wanted to check in with you all.

Before this I was focused on the security system(cameras) but now so close to winter I may hop over to that heat exchanger/water heater.

So thankful to have a place to come back to, Will have to try and figure out how to give to those on the other side of the fire line.

-edit- also.... as of now I have my potential 6.5T engine sitting waiting to be looked at as far as worthiness for a future donor. The deck is corroded, would need to be brazed. Ran great otherwise.
 
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joshuak

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... Anyhow I am pulling away from the setback and will be able to refocus some spare time towards the camper rig soon. Just wanted to check in with you all.
...

So thankful to have a place to come back to, Will have to try and figure out how to give to those on the other side of the fire line...

Glad to read you and yours made out ok. Good job on a successful motor swap. Post up if we can lend a helping hand from afar.
 

chevymike

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Hello all, just a brief update. About a month ago I wrote a lengthy post on my phone while evacuated from some of the local wildfires. (I accidentaly deleted it and was too tired to rewrite it on my cell) The M1010 was my shelter on and off for a good month. Thankyou to all that gave advice and encouragement to get it where it is. I was able to get enough things from my place had we been unfortunate like so many around here if the fire reached my place I would have been at peace with it. My work truck and my m1010 were safe and I had enough time to grab some irreplaceables. I finally got my house computer hooked back up and will hopefully be settled in enough to get the rig ready for its next 10 day trip coming up in a few weeks! In the time away from home I was able to swap my sickly 6.5T out with one I overhauled recently and the operation was a success! (about 750 miles so far and no codes!) If the fire got very bad it was going to endanger where I had my rebuilt motor and I was faced with haul all of my possessions in my work truck as well as my new 6.5 all stacked in the bed pulled by an overheating motor. Anyhow I am pulling away from the setback and will be able to refocus some spare time towards the camper rig soon. Just wanted to check in with you all.

Before this I was focused on the security system(cameras) but now so close to winter I may hop over to that heat exchanger/water heater.

So thankful to have a place to come back to, Will have to try and figure out how to give to those on the other side of the fire line.

-edit- also.... as of now I have my potential 6.5T engine sitting waiting to be looked at as far as worthiness for a future donor. The deck is corroded, would need to be brazed. Ran great otherwise.
Glad you made it through and your home was safe. It is crazy this year up in NoCal area. I remember how devastating the fires in San Diego were in 2003 and 2007. We know people who lost their homes and other where the fire came right up to their property. Scary!
 

cruzer747

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We know people who lost their homes and other where the fire came right up to their property. Scary!
That's for sure! from where we are the ridge over (1 mile away) has lots of spots where the fire had reached. My sisters place had lost their carport and crews stopped the fire at the house. Certainly scary and surreal. Left in the middle of the night driving through thick smoke filled skies that were colored a glowing red behind silhouetted trees.

On a funny note, when I was making a run back the next day to grab most importantly my big oxy acetylene setup along with some other things, the highway patrolman controlling the road closure looked at my rig (his puzzled look was priceless) and asked " Who are you with!? " thinking I was working the fire. While I would have stayed to help cal fire REALLY did not appreciate people doing so, but that is another issue.

Anyhow, I have been hyper focused on being productive and the camping trip coming up will be a treat to be able to have some down time. Looking forward to working on the camper soon, should probably get that big tranny cooler ordered soon.
 

Skinny

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I will tell you that I love my 6.2 M1031 but I have written it off for anything but an around town run about or errand runner. The noise, stench, speed, and sluggishness really detract from wanting to take it on long hauls.

Don't get me wrong I love it this truck. Just finished up AC so I can drive in the summer without melting to the seat cover.

I do have issues now with spending money on a 6.2 diesel. Turbos and overdrive are cool but at the end of the day you aren't going to find many parts locally available same day, unless you go P400 or Optimizer, everything you touch is 30+ years old.

Unlike the LS which is made by the millions, has tons of interchangeability, and is probably more reliable just based on being newer and readily available. Sure, if the end of the world occurs I will be traveling in my old dirty diesel. But until Mad Max happens, it really can't keep up anymore. Highway travel by me under 65mph is downright dangerous.

My Suburban CUCV/Dante's Peak clone has an 8.1 with a 4L80. Just finished it this summer and it just simply blows the doors off anything else. It used to have a 6.2 TH400 that isn't even operating on the same planet.

If you can stomach ripping all that old 6.2 stuff out and don't need a 1 wire end of the world truck, get rid of that paper weight and put something modern under the hood.

You can easily add AC and overdrive which to me are critical in having an enjoyable ride. The 8.1 aside from fuel economy has zero downside. I'm sure a 6.0 would be just as good. When my 6.2 has something catastrophic go, I will be yanking it out the next day.

Just an opinion



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cruzer747

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Nice motor! So a quick couple questions, what sort of mileage do you get with that combo? is the 4l80 retrofitted with a manual valvebody setup and if so how did that go and what do you think about it? I have mostly only read up on the standalone computers for the 4l80e.

That said, the moter in mine is quite clean so no real smells, the noise is.... while yes, a racket, it is kind of like listening to my old dog snore. It is comforting hearing it drone away.... to me. Sluggish and gutless are at this point the two things I would love to fix and I think I can get it there with a 6.2/6.5 platform. It is the same weight as my 94 3500 6.5T and while it is no powerhouse, it is powerful enough to do what I need it to do and I have not felt the NEED for more power with it. That is all I want, nothing more.

My last el camino had a built 383, fuel injected with a holley stealth ram and accel DFI kit. I had it for some years and somehow sold it before I got in trouble with the law or wrapping it around a tree. My first love el camino has a 327/350 combo with 3.73:1 and is fun enough without egging you on for trouble at every stoplight. I don't need to blow the doors off of anything. I just want to be able to know I can climb a steep offroad hill and not need 4L to complete it. Beyond that I dont know, I just dont really have the time in my life to be changing things around so much.

If I had a garage to work in I might change my mind but for the most part I am doing work in the dirt, at an angle and if I am lucky out of the rain.

Like you said, when your 6.2 goes, it's gone. Same with mine... but its at about 14k miles. I may throw a turbo on there to get it to the power level that will make it do what I need.... and if that does kill it early on in its odometric life then I will hopefully have a fresh 6.5t sitting at the ready. I rebuilt one for my work truck (shadetree style) and it runs like a swiss clock (almost hit the 1000 mile mark with no leaks and no codes). There are some advantage to sharing the same powerplant in two vehicles so it is likely the direction I will go. If I had more time I might adventure off the beaten path but as of now it is not in the cards.

Anywho, I think your rig and that amount of custom work is great! Every time you goose it I bet you get those butterflies like when I was rallying in my el camino, really it did turn me into a more aggressive, pedal mashing lunatic, the car demanded to be driven that way. My camper just needs to make the grade.

One last thing... I started with gas vehicles but after driving diesel for so long I really do like the safety(fire) and higher btu/gallon aspects of it as a fuel.
 

Skinny

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Nice motor! So a quick couple questions, what sort of mileage do you get with that combo? is the 4l80 retrofitted with a manual valvebody setup and if so how did that go and what do you think about it? I have mostly only read up on the standalone computers for the 4l80e.

That said, the moter in mine is quite clean so no real smells, the noise is.... while yes, a racket, it is kind of like listening to my old dog snore. It is comforting hearing it drone away.... to me. Sluggish and gutless are at this point the two things I would love to fix and I think I can get it there with a 6.2/6.5 platform. It is the same weight as my 94 3500 6.5T and while it is no powerhouse, it is powerful enough to do what I need it to do and I have not felt the NEED for more power with it. That is all I want, nothing more.

My last el camino had a built 383, fuel injected with a holley stealth ram and accel DFI kit. I had it for some years and somehow sold it before I got in trouble with the law or wrapping it around a tree. My first love el camino has a 327/350 combo with 3.73:1 and is fun enough without egging you on for trouble at every stoplight. I don't need to blow the doors off of anything. I just want to be able to know I can climb a steep offroad hill and not need 4L to complete it. Beyond that I dont know, I just dont really have the time in my life to be changing things around so much.

If I had a garage to work in I might change my mind but for the most part I am doing work in the dirt, at an angle and if I am lucky out of the rain.

Like you said, when your 6.2 goes, it's gone. Same with mine... but its at about 14k miles. I may throw a turbo on there to get it to the power level that will make it do what I need.... and if that does kill it early on in its odometric life then I will hopefully have a fresh 6.5t sitting at the ready. I rebuilt one for my work truck (shadetree style) and it runs like a swiss clock (almost hit the 1000 mile mark with no leaks and no codes). There are some advantage to sharing the same powerplant in two vehicles so it is likely the direction I will go. If I had more time I might adventure off the beaten path but as of now it is not in the cards.

Anywho, I think your rig and that amount of custom work is great! Every time you goose it I bet you get those butterflies like when I was rallying in my el camino, really it did turn me into a more aggressive, pedal mashing lunatic, the car demanded to be driven that way. My camper just needs to make the grade.

One last thing... I started with gas vehicles but after driving diesel for so long I really do like the safety(fire) and higher btu/gallon aspects of it as a fuel.
No idea on mileage, I haven't taken it on long trips yet so I don't really have any data. I just smile when I fill that 40 gallon tank.

The 4L80 is run off the factory 8.1 ECM. All stock just like a big block Avalanche, Suburban, or Express Van.

Yeah I get it. I just took the M1031 today on an hour long round trip and even for a short stretch of highway it was painful. I'm on the edge with just throwing a 700r4 in it just to keep up on the highway. Although if the 6.2 ever dies an 8.1 will be going in so maybe a 4L80 is a better choice for future engine transplants.

Here is the problem, you can do all the stuff to the 6.2 to get it acceptable...overdrive, turbo, and AC. I'm just advocating by the time you do that you most likely could be half of that into an LS swap with all of that comfort bone stock and modern where the 6.2 is still 30 years old.

I'm not crapping on the stock CUCV driveline but it is getting pretty long in the tooth if you know what I mean. Of course mine only has 25k miles so it probably will never die. I built my Burb with the entire running gear from an M1010 for all those reasons. Shortly after (like a month) the block cracked and I said screw this. If I'm going to spend thousands just getting a reliable 6.2 crate engine I'm going to go modern big block with all the upgrades for half the money.

The 8.1 is a monster and not only makes the Suburban a pleasure to drive but it is downright scary how much power it has. It isn't like breaking tires loose shifting to second but 500 foot pounds will plant you during acceleration.

I like the diesel for simplicity and reliability. But there is a reason why millions of trucks have LS engines and not 6.2 diesels

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chevymike

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Yeah, I am kind of in the same boat. The 6.2 in my M1010 isn't very powerful and though the Gear Vendor OD helped drive-ability, it is still a slug and pulling hills is painful and I haven't even gotten it up to the mountains where it will be even worse. I keep swaying between adding a turbo, swapping to a 6.5 turbo or just going to a 8.1L (or even 7.4). Cost wise, the gas engine will likely be a cheaper replacement than a good 6.5L. The downside is, in CA it is not legal to swap fuel types (i.e. going diesel to gas) but since I don't have to smog is, what is the likelihood it would ever be known.

Once I get the box built out, we will start camping again and our camping is middle of nowhere and if you break, no one is coming to tow you out. I need dead nuts reliable. I just don't know if I have that level of trust in the 6.2/6.5 platform.
 

Skinny

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I have two major issues.

The gear vendors unit still utilizes an although strong but pretty useless stock TH400. Tall first gear, power sucking non-lockup converter, and no OD. So $3k plus driveshaft refit, you could do a really nice 6.0 swap for that money using all OEM stuff.

The 6.5 swap or using the turbo setup off it you still have really old stuff that was never great from the beginning. The 6.5 manifolds are no longer being made and really lacked in performance. Although not a bad mod if you can get a whole setup fir cheap.

I just think the for the time and money it can be spent elsewhere and end up with better results. I don't trust a 6.2 very much. Sure , mine will probably go 300k miles but it's like having a grenade with the pin out and being miserable every day. I do like the concept behind a P400 or Optimizer but both options are expensive or way more expensive. Plus the General stopped making new stuff anymore.

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cruzer747

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No idea on mileage, I haven't taken it on long trips yet so I don't really have any data. I just smile when I fill that 40 gallon tank.

So I would like a show of hand on how many have a fuel mileage and maintenance logbook and who just relies on spitballing as far as overall motor health and performance? :D

I have kept fillup journals on this and my worktruck since ownership... If you knew me you might be surprised to find that I do something so... well, there are a few words I could put here but you get the idea.
 
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